Recent Posts

April 8, 2014

After nearly three months of study and service in Peru, Goshen College students had a final opportunity for focused reflection on their experiences and on the joys and potential challenges of returning to the United States. Our concluding gathering was held at a Christian retreat center called Kawai, located on the beach about a 90-minute drive south of Lima. The retreat center consists of a large collection of spacious buildings amid well-landscaped grounds, just a few hundred yards from the Pacific Ocean. It has wide lawns, a nice swimming pool and a broad beach, perfect for long walks and contemplation….

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April 7, 2014

Goshen College students returned to Lima from our concluding retreat at the beach on Sunday afternoon and arrived back at Casa Goshen for three hours of final preparations. They discarded unwanted items, repacked their belongings –and made sure their suitcases weighed less than 50 pounds. They then had final precious moments to relax and prepare for their overnight flight to the United States. First, though, they had a delicious Peruvian meal of aji de gallina – shredded chicken in a mild chili sauce over rice and potatoes and a fresh juice blend of mango and passion fruit prepared by Alicia…

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April 7, 2014

After spending a full day visiting with friends, dropping by the homes of their Lima host families and shopping, Goshen College students spent the night at Miraflores House, a hostel. The students – who had taken overnight buses from their service assignments – said they had a wonderful night of sleep in comfortable beds and especially enjoyed hot showers, in some cases for the first time in six weeks. They next morning, after a hearty breakfast of tamales, they made their way to the Anglican Cathedral of the Good Shepherd (Buen Pastor) for some final academic work. First up: a…

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April 4, 2014

Our 15 Goshen College students returned safety to Lima Thursday morning from Chancay, Ayacucho, Tarma, San Ramon, La Merced and San Miguel. They were a sight for sore eyes and we (Peru SST Co-Directors Richard R. Aguirre and Judy Weaver) were thrilled to see them! And as pleased as they may have been to see us, they were ecstatic to see each other. It had been almost six long weeks since they were together. Our spring group of students bonded unusually well from the moment they arrived in Peru, on Jan. 8. Aimee, April, Caleb, Dean, Derek, Gina, Gretchen, Jackson,…

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March 31, 2014

Goshen College students enrolled in the Peru SST program struggle to adjust to new (host) families, the Spanish language, a new country and a very different culture. Service can be an even bigger adjustment because students leave the comfort of modern Lima and head out to the country, often with just one or two other students and away from the security of a group of Goshen students who have become close and supportive friends. Dean and Derek faced those same adjustments, but moved even further out of their comfort zones by accepting a remote service assignment in a tiny settlement and…

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March 31, 2014

Neal and Jackson are living just outside the town of La Merced in the Junín province of Peru. La Merced, which has about 50,000 residents, is the provincial capital of the Chanchamayo region and is blessed with warm weather, abundant rainfall, lush vegetation, waterfalls and excellent agricultural production. On the eight-hour bus ride from Lima, one passes through Peru’s three distinct regions – coast, mountains and jungle. La Merced is considered part of the central rain forest and is located on the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains, about 2,000 feet above sea level. Neal and Jackson are serving in…

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March 30, 2014

Maria and Caleb are working in San Ramón in the province of Chanchamayo – the entry point to the selva central, Peru’s central rain forest. In spite of busy work schedules, the students have found time to enjoy their host families as well as the flora, fauna and warm temperatures of San Ramón, which is located along the Carretera Central (the central highway) that links Lima in the west to the rain forest in the east. San Ramón, which has about 30,000 residents, is located in the departamento (state) of Junín, on the eastern foothills of the Andes mountain range….

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March 30, 2014

Gina and Natalie are volunteering in Tarma, a delightful city of about 60,000 residents located in a fertile valley about 3,053 meters, or 10,016 feet, above sea level in the Andes mountain range. Tarma was founded in 1538 in the departamento (state) of Junín, between the central coast and the central Amazon rain forest. Because of its spring-like weather and natural beauty, the city was nicknamed the “Pearl of the Andes” by Antonio Raimondi, an Italian-born scientist and university professor, who traveled widely through Peru from 1850 to 1875 studying the nation’s geography, geology, botany, zoology, ethnography, and archaeology. Tarma…

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March 29, 2014

This semester, five students in the Peru SST program are providing service in Ayacucho, a city of about 151,000 in the south-central Andes of the country. Ayacucho is famous for its 33 Catholic churches, which are said to represent one for each year of Jesus’ life. Because of its substantial Catholic population, Ayacucho has large religious celebrations, most importantly during Semana Santa (Holy Week of Easter). No public celebration in the city can compare to Semana Santa, which draws tens of thousands of visitors from throughout the world. Still, Ayacucho’s Carnaval (Carnival) celebration also has many fans, including Goshen’s students. This year,…

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March 29, 2014

The five students in Ayacucho are doing well and have some great experiences to report. We (Peru SST Co-Directors Richard R. Aguirre and Judy Weaver) visited them on a couple of sunny days, interspersed with refreshing nighttime rain – typical weather for this time of year in the Andes. Ayacucho occupies a scenic valley about 2,761 meters, or 9,058 feet, above sea level in the Andes mountain range. The city of 151,000 people is known for its colonial architecture, many Catholic churches and religious observances. In their free time, the Goshen students were enjoying the celebrations of Carnaval, sort of…

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